Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Subject is Roses

The solstice is approaching and our plants are in full swing, with new flowers and fruits appearing each week. We hope everyone is enjoying these long, luminous days!

Rabbie Burns once sang, “O, my Luve's like a red, red rose, that's newly sprung in June...” It was a good botanical observation.

Robert Burns lived in Scotland in the 1700’s, when all the rose plants in Europe bloomed only once in early summer (often June), in a mass profusion of flowers. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that rose breeders began to cross European and Asian roses, and Europeans experienced rose plants that bloomed continuously through summer. And orange roses!

Michael Pollen wrote an interesting, slightly risqué piece about how old European garden roses became the hybrid roses we know today. Read “Into the Rose Garden” here:

As we post this, the new rose plant in our planter bowl garden is blooming! Ours is an English hybrid rose, “introduced” in 2005. It has some typical hybrid rose traits – a smaller plant, it will have repeating orange blooms all summer. But it was also bred to resemble an old English garden rose with a high petal count and tons of fragrance.

In the tradition of European rose breeding, our rose is named after a woman, Lady Emma Hamilton. From the breeder’s website: “Lady Emma Hamilton was Horatio Nelson's lover and we have named this rose to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.” You can read about Lady Emma Hamilton here:,_Lady_Hamilton

See the resemblance?

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